Week Five: Oct. 5 vs. New England Patriots (8:25 p.m.)
Speaking of arriving… If the Bucs can win this game, start planning the parade. Okay, maybe not, but this is another huge chance for Tampa Bay to make a statement on a national stage. When New England comes to Raymond James Stadium on Thursday Night Football, everyone will be watching. And that’s saying something. Because at this point, it feels like no one watches Thursday night games anymore.
This is the toughest game on Tampa Bay’s 2017 schedule. It’s the New England Patriots. The defending Super Bowl champions. So, what else is there to say? Bill Belichick leads the way, Tom Brady executes just as well as anyone in the league and the defense is never soft. The Bucs will certainly have their work cut out for them. If they can come through, they will gain a great deal of respect around the league.
It really doesn’t help that Tampa Bay will only get three days of preparation for this game. The week four matchup with New York kicks off at 4:05, which means by the time that game ends, there will be just over 96 hours until the Bucs have to take the field again. That’s not a lot of time to recover. On the plus side, they won’t have to travel. But it’ll still be tough. It feels a whole lot like last year’s stretch that included a Sunday home game against Oakland before a Thursday night contest with Atlanta. That didn’t work out too well. It’ll be a brutally quick turnaround, one that will make this game even more difficult for the Bucs.